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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009

Hello friends of Central College Abroad! This newsletter, released the second Tuesday of every month, is intended to keep you in touch with what’s happening with Central College Abroad’s programs across the globe.

Central College Abroad photo
Central students on a tour in Granada, Spain!

Attention Advisors and Students!

The application deadline for spring is THIS WEEK! All application materials including transcripts, essay and recommendation forms are due by Thursday, Oct. 15, for spring 2010 programs.
Take advantage of the new online application —  it’s faster and easier ... and FREE!
Apply today at:

We understand that the current economic times may have you worried about the cost of study abroad.  Central College offers a handful of scholarships that can help.  The Vance Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship awarded to students from cooperating schools with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. There are also other scholarships available.  To learn more, visit:

100% Participation in internships and service-learning in Merida, Mexico

Internships and service-learning are an integral part of Central College Abroad programming. In service-learning options, students connect meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, reflection, personal growth and civic responsibility. This semester, 100% of students on the Merida, Mexico program are doing service-learning or an internship for academic credit.  The Merida program offers unique and inspiring placements where students can focus on the needs of the host community while interacting with locals and strengthening language skills. Here we highlight Liz Urban and her internship at a community outreach program.

Who: Liz Urban
Major: Exercise science health promotion with Spanish and sociology minors, Central College
Semester Abroad: Merida, spring 2009

Chris Weaver, (third from left)
Central College Abroad student (middle in the pink shirt) working with school children in Merida.

Where did you intern: For Nutre y Mueve tu Vida! It’s an organization in Merida that does outreach programs on educating the citizens about diabetes and healthy lifestyles. I did research on diabetes that helped the organization in gathering materials for their monthly publications, and also worked at community health fairs that taught exercises, healthy eating, diabetes testing and information.  We taught them prevention is key to a healthy lifestyle. Two amazing opportunities I was able to participate in was the Carnival parade over several days during February, and also teaching aerobics to middle-aged Mexican women in dresses who have never seen or experienced aerobics before!

How going abroad will help in the future: I loved doing community outreach to educate people about diabetes and how to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Diabetes is so common in Mexico, and so many of the citizens don't receive proper medication and do nothing to prevent diabetes in their lives. It was a perfect fit for my major because I really was promoting health. I enjoyed using my Spanish skills and teaching them some American ways of thinking in regards to exercise and healthy lifestyles. I learned how much diabetes affects the Latino population and how exercise is not something that is really taught in some cultures. I hope this can help me in my career with internship possibilities in organizations similar to Nutre, because community outreach really can educate people in so many ways.

To better understand the importance of Liz’s service-learning placement, here is a link to a map which re-sizes the world based on the population effected by diabetes. You’ll notice that Mexico’s size is inflated.

New Assistant Director in London

Central College Abroad welcomes Beth Downes, the new assistant director of the London program. As part of her role, Beth will manage the internship placement — London has over 100 placements available for students.
She comes to us from Dorset, a rural county in the south of England. She attended University College London, where she graduated with a BSc (Bachelor of Science) in geography. Beth joined the CCA family on Sept. 10, 2009, an optimal time to enjoy the rush of new students arriving for the semester.
“With the arrival of the new students, the last few weeks have been extremely busy but lots of fun,” Beth said. “Everyone has given me such a warm welcome that settling in has been very easy and enjoyable.”
There is no doubt that Beth and the unique skills she brings will be of great value to the London Program.  Beth can be reached at Welcome, Beth!

Pengyou program--Language and culture exchange in Hangzhou, China

Studying abroad with Central is more than just living in a different country; students have the ability to integrate themselves with the local culture. In Hangzhou, China, students take part in the “Pengyou” program, which literally translates into “friend.”  The program introduces Central students to Chinese students, allowing interaction and experience that might otherwise seem impossible as well as aide abroad students in practicing the Chinese language.

Name: Robert Grimm
Major: Asian Studies, Austin College
Semester abroad: China, academic year 2009-2010

What is the Pengyou program in Hangzhou:
The Pengyou program introduces local Chinese students to the CCA study abroad students. I arrived on campus Sept. 1, and a "welcome dinner" was hosted that evening for the Central program students. The dinner was attended by the CCA Hangzhou students, Li Shumin, the program director, and three Chinese students. It is a great partnership because we Americans provide an opportunity for the Chinese students to interact with native English speakers which the Chinese students are always eager to do.  In turn they provide us with a variety of people willing to help with any problem we encounter. Further, it is a lot of fun to spend time and discuss cultural differences. It is surprising to see the number of things that I took for granted before coming to China!

How has the Pengyou program shaped your experience abroad?
Living in the international student dormitory, it would be easy to stay in my comfort zone: speak only in English, meet only Westerners, etc. When I talk with other international students here, many talk about staying on campus, or visiting Western-aimed restaurants and bars. The Pengyou program has helped me escape into true Chinese contemporary culture. In the two-and-a-half weeks that I've been on Zhejiang University's Yu Quan campus, I've ridden bikes around West Lake twice, hiked on a nearby hill, watched a Chinese movie on the big screen, and visited a local botanical garden. Each of these activities is a direct result of spending time with my Chinese friends, and in my opinion, much more rewarding.

Central College Abroad photo
Robert Grimm (farthest right) with pengyou’s in China.

To learn more about the Pengyou program visit

Eric SneddonDirector of International Operations resigns

Eric Sneddon, director of international operations for Central College Abroad, has resigned his position effective Oct. 31, 2009. Eric successfully led Central’s London program for seven years before moving into his current position one year ago. Eric’s dedication, kindness, professionalism and sense of humor will be missed.
Join us in wishing Eric well as he moves on to his new position as associate director for New York University’s London program.  He can be reached until Oct. 31 at

Central College Abroad to attend Global Health Consortium

As the world’s borders are broken down and we become increasingly interconnected, multidisciplinary approaches to solving the world’s problems must be initiated. The Global Health Consortium seeks to bring people together in order to heighten awareness for the cause of global health. Des Moines University took this idea and made it a staple of their current pedagogical interests, teaming up with six other Iowa colleges and universities to collaborate and better enhance global learning experiences. The seven schools making up the Heartland Global Health Consortium are: Central College, Drake University, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, Simpson College and Des Moines University.

Central College Abroad is an active collaborator in this project. Central hosted a strategic planning meeting for the consortium at our Merida, Mexico program site, where Resident Director, Valerie Grimsley, organized excursions for the participants to engage in constructive observation of the health care system in Merida. Dr. Anya Butt, participant of the Merida meeting, said,“ The Merida trip was an opportunity for us to have a lot of dedicated time to talk about what we wanted the strategies to be, basically develop strategic planning, set long term goals, set short term goals, and make people personally responsible for getting them done.” The meeting was also a bonding experience for the members of the consortium. “Now that we know each other a little bit better, it’s much easier to call somebody up and say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about doing a project on…’ The better you know people, the easier it is to be efficient,” says Dr. Butt.

Central College Abroad photo
Members of the Heartland Global Health Consortium meeting in Merida. Dr. Anya Butt (front row: farthest right) and Central College Abroad Manager of on Campus Operations, Brian Zylstra (second row: farthest right).

So, why is global health important? According to Dr. Butt the answer is obvious. “Just look at a disease like SARS - it may have originated in China but has infected people globally. And more recently H1N1, it may have originated in Mexico, but something like 13,000 kids stayed home from school last week.” The Heartland Global Health Consortium seeks to provide awareness for these global diseases in order to better serve the global community.  On October 14, 2009, Des Moines University will host a Global Health Conference with keynote speakers U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, as well as Dr. William Foege, Senior Fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To learn more about Global Health and the October 14th conference, visit:

Going green in Vienna

The green initiative doesn’t stop when you go abroad! Students have opportunities to work with green initiative companies overseas through an internship or service-learning experience. Service-learning is a way for students to engage in a more in-depth cross-cultural experience, connecting the students to a meaningful service opportunity in the community. Aside from working for an honorable cause, students also get academic credit and priceless work experience. Here is one student’s story who worked for a green initiative company while studying abroad:

Who: Patrick Schacherer
Major: Political science, Central College
Semester Abroad: Vienna, fall 2009

Internship Job: My internship abroad was with the Central European branch of Greenpeace, an environmental organization that emphasizes non-violent activism and protests. My specific job was working on a consumer protection Web site and updating it twice weekly. The Web site's purpose was to let consumers know about the environmental impact of a number of products.

Central College Abroad photo
Central College Abroad students studying outdoors in Vienna.

How going abroad has helped: While Greenpeace was a great experience within itself, I think that the experience of living in Vienna had just as much of an impact on my environmental attitude. Living in a city that values air quality, water quality and public transportation opens your eyes to what a "green" city looks like.

Many of Central’s study abroad programs have internship or service-learning opportunities in the area of environmental studies. Currently, there are opportunities on the Vienna, London, Merida, Leiden and Wales programs. Learn more about internships and service-learning on our Web site.


Contact Us

Central College Abroad
812 University Box 0140
Pella, IA 50219
Fax: 641-628-5375

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